A Loaf of Bread with Consequences
We recently saw a 4-year-old dog at the clinic because he was vomiting for a few days. He was not keeping anything down. In his younger years, he did chew up anything he could. But lately he had settled down and he had not been eating things that he should not have. When we first saw him, he looked pretty good for a dog that had not been holding food down for days. And he initially responded to medication, so we thought we were done with the case. However, he came back again the next week because he starting vomiting again and he would not eat at all. Very unusual for him. At this time, we were thinking he could have something stuck in his intestines or stomach causing problems. Even though the owners could not think of anything he might have eaten. Some things show up easily on x-rays. For example bones show up well and toys made of hard rubber also are easy to see. But things such as cloth or soft chew toys are hard to see. Sometimes you have to take repeated x-rays to figure out that there is an obstruction. When intestines are working normally, the material in them moves along and will look different when you repeat the x-rays. Sometimes you figure out there is an obstruction just because the pattern of gas in the intestines does not change. This is the x-ray that made us suspicious that this dog has something stuck in him. He had not eaten anything for about a week and has a large volume of material that we have outlined with the green arrows. And the x-rays taken the day before looked exactly the same. We decided that this dog needed surgery without seeing something obvious on x-ray and without any history of him eating something. It turns out that he had a plastic bag stuck in this intestines. It was a long bag, off a baguette loaf. The owners remembered that he ate that loaf but assumed he chewed up the plastic along with the bread. This dog did well with surgery. However, it was not a simple surgery. Since the bag was so long, it cut his intestines and he needed 4 feet of his small intestines removed. All for a loaf of bread!